Friday, December 23, 2011

Social media powers these Christmas tree lights

By Suzanne Choney

Some wags may think this is the best use of social media ever: Helping to light up a 30-foot Christmas tree in Toronto's Union Station.a

"The tree takes positive Christmas chatter in social media and uses the data to light up the 30,000 LED lights strung around it," explains Sheldon Levine of Sysomos on the company's blog:a

Each color of light represents Christmas spirit coming from a different social channel. White lights represent social networks like Twitter and public Facebook statuses, red for blog and forum posts, green for online news and blue lights for messages sent through text [directly to] The more social media spirit that comes in at one time the brighter the tree shines. As well, there are a few Easter egg words (#santa, #snowflake, #magic) that you can send to the tree to make it do some pretty fancy light patterns.a

Toronto-based Sysomos, which does social media analytics (and data mining), used a list of 50 Christmas keywords (like Santa or elf) captured "from social media talk across Canada. We then analyze the sentiment of the messages pulled in. From there all the positive mentions get sent through an API to a machine designed to turn the social media Christmas data into a spectacular light show," Levine wrote.a

The project was funded by north-of-the-border superstore Canadian Tire.a

The YouTube video above explains the process, and if you want to watch as the tree changes lights, check out the LiveStream video below. And if you don't have a tree yet, put the live stream on the largest size possible, sip some eggnog — and enjoy.a

Watch live streaming video from canadiantire at

Related stories:a

The nerdiest Christmas trees ever Getting new tech? Safely ditch the old 'Facebook' top search term (again) for 2011

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.a


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